School Year’s 11-13 Category Winner Ah, White Butterfly by Matthew Navas
Ah, White Butterfly
How swiftly flown you flew.
Gliding on winds to an unfulfilling destination
Known by so many, yet so few.
Loud symphonic cacophonies towards the end,
Reminiscent of when we would listen and absorb
Frank Sinatra's "Fly Me To The Moon".
I hope you've made it there.
Ah, White Butterfly
I wish your cocoon would have remained shut.
Mine is scattered and layered with unanswered questions,
Formal goodbyes never given.
Tears on your unboundedly loving wings,
My own began to appear. White like yours.
But, polluted with petulant, pugnacious bleakness,
You painted my wings.
You pollinated my mind with irreplaceable experiences
Of incalculable colour.
To fly is to live, to know
To love, to be, to live
To wish, to dream, to wonder what if and why.
I am tempestuous.
I need to understand.
Please, do not fly.
Soar up, above the clouds and firmament
Above the sadness and overwhelming conflict
Soar into the stratosphere
Your great white wings propelling you
Up and up, do not stop.
Please, just ascend.
Fly to the moon
Fly even further
Until we can fly together again, Grandpa.
Judge Charlie Durante’s comments:
“This is an engagingly moving and hopeful poem. We have to deduce who the white butterfly stands for. This is a beautiful signifier but we have to guess, to a certain extent, what the signified is. Traditionally, the butterfly has symbolised the soul: its fragile wings, erratic flight and array of colours are eminently suitable to represent the immortal soul. Dante mentions the ‘divina farfalla,’ the divine butterfly to embody the transformed soul. Because the poem seems to be addressed to the speaker’s dead grandfather, the butterfly could be a way of visualising what is intangible and elusive. The grandchild is indebted to the dead progenitor: ‘You pollinated my mind;’ ‘you painted my wings,’ thus maintaining the butterfly association in its images and lexicon. The crooner’s famous song gives the poem a warm, familiar reference and, at the same time, emphasising the flying motif, present throughout the poem, which propels the butterfly to soar to the very heights (the stratosphere). The driving force behind this piece is to be reunited with the deceased grandparent, ‘Until we can fly together again, Grandpa.’ This is a poignant and beautifully crafted poem.”